Tom Brady’s smarts, ability to read defenses pre-snap and get the ball out quickly make him difficult to sack. But Kansas City’s pass rushers said Brady’s shoulders are dangerous, too.
Defensive linemen Frank Clark and Chris Jones said Brady has a shimmy move with his shoulders that allows him to avoid sacks.
Kansas City has to be relentless in its pursuit of the 43-year-old Brady in Super Bowl LV. If they don’t bring down Brady — shoulders and all — he could hoist the Lombardi Trophy for a seventh time.
"Man, you got to be a dog for real," Clark said. "Everything you do you just got to go out there and do it to the best of your ability because at the end of the day Tom Brady knows what time it is.
"It’s the Super Bowl. It’s the reason why he’s the G.O.A.T. It’s the reason why he’s won more of these things than anybody else. He understands the magnitude of this game and he understands what it takes to get here."
Kansas City’s specialty is scoring points with Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce among the best at their respective positions. But Kansas City’s defense on Tampa Bay and Brady could determine whether KC repeats as Super Bowl champs.
Brady is the only player to win six Super Bowls and four SB MVPs. Kansas City has to find ways to disrupt and throw off arguably the greatest quarterback of all time.
Maybe defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo could provide some Brady kryptonite. Spagnuolo was the Giants' defensive coordinator in Super Bowl XLII when they rattled Brady and defeated the previously unbeaten Patriots. The Giants applied non-stop pressure.
Spagnuolo won’t do the same things. But making Brady feel uncomfortable in the pocket and forcing him to move and get the ball out quicker while under duress surely will be part of the plan.
"When you face this kind of offense with a lot of weapons you have to mix it up," Spagnuolo said. "You can’t sit in one thing. Tom is too good. He’s going to figure out what you’re trying to do what you’re trying to take away and he’s going to expose you somewhere else.
"I’m hoping if anything we can mix it up enough that we can be one or two steps ahead of Tom on a couple plays here and there."
Kansas City is a middle-of-the-pack defense that has gotten production and results lately blitzing from the corners. Rookie nickelback L’Jarius Sneed’s two sacks in the playoffs is tied with Clark for team high. But getting the front to pressure Brady and actually get him down will be a big key for KC.
Easier said than done, because of Brady’s elusiveness.
"Have you ever seen Tom Brady’s shoulders when he in the pocket?" Clark said. "Tom Brady’s 43 and I ain’t got nothing against nobody that’s 43 or around that age. But, playing in the league for about 20 or 30-something years, for him to be able to move his shoulders like that still is quite amazing.
"He’s not an escape artist. But honestly sometimes he’s just as good as Deshaun Watson. I think Deshaun Watson’s the best. You watch Tom Brady in the pocket, and you can’t really tell the difference."
Jones, who led Kansas City with 7.5 sacks in the regular season, said Brady’s shoulders are "ridiculous." Jones said last year he thought he had Brady, but he dropped his right shoulder and get out of the sack.
"Tom Brady is slithery with his shoulders," Jones said. "If you don’t have a good hit on him, he’ll dip those shoulders like no other. He’s very dangerous with those shoulders. His pocket awareness is up there."
Bringing down Brady — shoulders and all — is the mission for this defense.
"The front four has got to be relentless," Jones said. "They got a heck of an offensive line. We’re preparing. We just got to be relentless and trust that our back end will give us that extra second to get to him."